9 Dec 2009

Forest Park management to be shared

3:35 pm on 9 December 2009

Governance of the Whirinaki Forest Park in the Bay of Plenty is to be shared under a Treaty of Waitangi agreement between Ngati Whare and the Government.

The iwi now has equal say with the Department of Conservation (DoC) on how more than 50,000ha will be used. Ngati Whare will also get up to 640ha for a project to regenerate native forestry.

A deed of settlement was signed by Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson on Tuesday.

Waatea News reports he predicts a positive future for the forest park now that Ngati Whare is fully involved.

Mr Finlayson said in a statement the agreement provides for public access to the Whirinaki forest to continue. He expects co-governance could become a regular part of Treaty settlements.

The deal is in addition to the iwi's involvement in the Kaingaroa forest deal, which was worth more than $400 million. Ngati Whare was one of eight iwi involved.

DoC says just how shared governance will work is yet to be determined.

Ngati Whare says it agreed to the deal because it did not want the forestry land to be divided.

Mr Finlayson will be in the eastern Bay of Plenty on Saturday to sign a settlement with Ngati Manawa.